Fun Drinks With Friends

The Barbecue will certainly be the spotlight, but it definitely needs an assist from a well stocked beverage table. 

The beverage table can be as simple as beer and wine or include a fully stocked bar. When designing your beverage menu, think about the types of people that will be attending and try to note possible preferences.


Cocktails made with beer thob


It certainly can’t hurt to start with a large tub of brews. You may want to include the old standards, but add in a couple of variety packs. Not only will the varieties be a conversation piece, but it’s an easy way to step up the domestic varieties in a cost effective manner. Arrange bottles in a large galvanized tub or plastic bin. Cover with ice and add a small amount of water to the ice. Ice water actually chills beer faster than ice alone.



Now onto the wine drinkers. You can easily purchase multiple bottles of wine, but sometimes that gets tricky if you’re trying to please everyone, especially if you don’t typically frequent the wine aisle. A good alternative to bottled wine is sangria. Traditionally a sangria is made from fruit, wine and various liqueurs to produce a refreshing alcoholic blend. Sangria can be made from red wine, white wine or blush. Not only is it pleasing to the palate, but it’s so attractive that a good batch of sangria with fresh fruit floating on top is a great decoration as well. If choosing the bottle route, stock the basics, Cabernet, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Moscato. Plan for at least two glasses each for your wine drinkers. A typical bottle holds four and a half glasses. Don’t forget that all of the light colored wines should be properly chilled.

Red Sangria

2 bottles chilled dry red wine

1 cup Brandy

1 cup Orange Juice

1/4 cup sugar

2 oranges cut into thin rounds

2 lemons, cut into thin rounds

3 limes, cut into thin rounds

2 apples cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks

2 cups cold Club Soda


The Full Bar:

If you want to go all in and splurge on a full bar, here is a simple guide to a basic bar set up. First, choose good call brands of all the staple liquors. These should include Vodka, Gin, Rum, Scotch, Bourbon and Tequila. Additionally, you’ll need to properly consider the mixers to have on hand. Basic juices are a must: orange, cranberry and grapefruit. Carbonated mixers are next: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Soda Water and Tonic Water. Prepackaged mixes such as Margarita Mix and Bloody Mary Mix are good to have on hand, too. As far as garnishes, you should prepare lemons, limes, cherries and oranges. This basic set up serves dual purpose – it makes a statement for your event and allows for hundreds of combinations of mixed drinks. If you want to take it to the next level, have a bartender’s guide on hand or print out note cards with common drink recipes. More often than not, guests will want to experiment, but will need a helping hand along the way.




Don’t forget the non-alcoholic drinks when making your beverage plan. Bottled water is important, but it’s relatively simple to whip up a batch of homemade lemonade or fruit punch, too.

This recipe for Raspberry Mint Punch is great for both children and adults. Simply mix the ingredients below and serve over ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

5 Cups Dole Pure & Light Country Raspberry Juice (chilled)

1 6 oz. can Frozen Limeade, thawed

5 Cups Dole Pineapple Juice (chilled)

2 Limes, sliced

2 Tbs pure mint extract

Mint leaves for garnish

In another life I would have attended culinary school, competed in every reality cooking competition I could find, and owned a quaint farm to table restaurant. In reality, though, I'm the guy who loves cooking outdoors for anybody who would let me and doesn't let go of any excuse for a party, to fire up the grill and light the smoker.